For small businesses online marketing is not just a part of their business, it’s a major portion of their advertising budget.
Businesses need to cater to their customers, and be where they want them to be. The 2012 holiday season shopping trends reveal that customers today want to do their research and shopping online. Even if they end up buying a product at a store, they want to be able to find out information and compare prices online. Businesses website that recognize this and put their marketing dollars into online advertising will be successful.
Not only do businesses need to advertise online, but also invest in mobile advertising and applications. Consumers are using their smart phones to do a large amount of price comparison and research about products, even when they are physically present in a store.
Engaging Your Customers in Different Ways
It’s important to engage your customers in many different ways online. Your customers have diverse habits when it comes to the web, and if you can touch them in more than one way, you have a better chance of engaging them and securing the sale. Here are some examples of different ways to reach your customers:
- Deal Sites – Consumers like knowing they are getting the best price, and sites like AmazonLocal and Groupon allow you to not only sell in bulk, but also attract the attention of prospective buyers.
- Coupon Sites – Buyers use coupon sites like Retailmenot to find discounts on products they are already going to buy.
- Online Ads – Google Ads is still number one, and a cost effective way to reach out to potential customers.
- Banner Ads – These have a low click-through rate, but banner ads, whether through Google or another source, build brand awareness with potential customers. When customers see your other ads and your website, they already have an affinity for your brand and trust you.
- Mobile Websites – These streamlined sites are important because more people are gathering information about products and services and comparing their prices on mobile phones, even while shopping in a brick and mortar store.
- Mobile Apps – Create a mobile app that allows your customers to browse your products easily on their smart phone. You can use free and low cost online app builders to create mobile apps for Apple iOS, Android, Blackberry and Windows platforms.
- Online Reputation Management – Your small business marketing efforts need to include monitoring social media, forums, and review sites. When negative comments appear, it’s a chance to make amends and win back a customer.
Even if businesses do most of their sales in a store in their local community, online marketing is where they need to focus their advertising dollars. There are many different ways to engage your customers. Success is all about finding different avenues and being where your customer is looking.